By Marisa DeZara
Know Your BHO
BHO, commonly known as butane hash oil, is an extreme marijuana concentrate. According to Rolling Stone, the hash oil concentrate contains “astronomical [THC] levels that can exceed 80 percent.” Consuming this concentrate includes heating a nail — made of titanium, quartz, ceramic or glass — with a blowtorch, then proceeding to drop a dab of oil on the hot nail, hence the name dabbing.
This process can appear very frightening due to the nature of how it is smoked. However, just because it looks scary does not necessarily mean that it is bad. Since dabbing gives marijuana users a soaring high with just a small amount of product, this newer means of getting stoned is growing in popularity.
In order to yield the concentrated product, the most common method is to blast butane through a tube of bud, evaporate the butane and extract the high THC content. There are also CO2 and ice-water extraction methods. CO2 extraction requires more advanced equipment, but “CO2 is non-toxic and is Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA for use in food products,” according to Apeks SuperCritical, a botanical oil extraction systems company. The Healing Leaf Collective Garden identifies ice-water extraction as the cleanest and most meticulous extraction method.
Most of the media’s attention has highlighted amateurs who attempt to make BHO in-house, with little to no experience. On January 7, 2014, Fox News Seattle reported, butane caused an explosion by someone who was attempting to make hash oil in an apartment. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon news subject, especially to those living in legal states.
This type of negative press gives dabbing — from consumption to creation — a really bad rap. It has also been argued that residual butane can pose health risks to the consumer, but this is still widely debated. BHO, in its infancy, has undoubtedly stirred up controversy. Regardless, most users love BHO, and extraction companies love their loyal customers.
Traditionally, people use oil rigs to smoke the concentrate. An oil rig is a glass pipe, which often resembles a bong or bubbler, with a nail and glass dome attachment. Often times this is the preferred method of consumption. On the other hand, many find that the hash oil is paired perfectly with a vape pen. There are numerous companies that supply users with vaporizer pens, which often resemble electronic cigarettes. High Times even provides a buyers guide for the best vape pens on the market.
Vaping hash oil is a perfect way for medical patients and recreational users to get high on the go; the discrete vape pen and the faint smell of the concentrate allow for an inconspicuous way of smoking. Rolling Stone reported that dispensaries sell BHO “between $25 and $100 a gram, depending on where you live,” making it one of the most expensive and sought after products dispensaries offer. Compared to cannabis, which sells between $8 and $15 dollars a gram, depending on quality, hash oil tends to bring in a larger profit.
710 Seizes the Day
As you can imagine, BHO product quality varies. So, much like the High Times Cannabis Cup held on 4/20, which seeks to find the best bud, Grassroots California hosts the 710 cup to find the best oil in the Denver area. This event happens on July 10, or 7/10, because, if you look closely, the number 710 flipped upside down spells the word “oil.”
The 710 cup isn’t the only one celebrating the day. SF’s Best Concentrate, a fundraiser for ASA’s San Francisco chapter, will determine San Francisco’s best concentrate on July 10, 2014; in Colorado on the same date, Heady Glass is having a 710 Fest in Englewood. If dabbing’s popularity continues to grow, so will the number of promotional events commemorating the day.
Once the negative media surrounding dabbing dissipates, this extension of the cannabis market may prove to be a lucrative possibility for entrepreneurs and investors alike. While it is too soon to say for certain, the growing number of dabvocates is promising. If you choose to enter the dabbing market, do your due diligence and make sure the opportunity is legal, professional and safe.